The Power of a Photograph: The Power is in the Details...

I have always admired the gifted photographers among us. Those talented moms and dads who can capture not only the raw emotion, but that single, telling detail that brings the life of a person to a flat piece of paper. 

My mother-in-law is one such mom. For years, each time a new baby is introduced to the clan, she has tried to get her sons to pose for a particular photograph. Each time, they conveniently find an excuse. The shot she envisions is a reproduction of a black-and-white print, which features a young, shirtless John Elway holding his naked newborn son. The words "Tommy Hilfiger" peek from the waistband of Elway's boxers, barely visible above his tattered jeans. 

Worried that her opportunities to take the photo were quickly disappearing, my mom-in-law wouldn't let my husband off the hook. Her youngest son was going to have to pose for the photograph we had all been hearing about for years. She traveled two hours to our house to make the shot, Tyler put on his rattiest jeans, and the rest of us tried to stay out of the way. Alas, she got the photo she was after. Tyler is staring into his new daughter's eyes with an intensity that would remind every parent of the all-consuming love a new father has for his daughter. 
But that is not the power of the photograph. The photo has a permanent place on our wall, and in my heart, not because of the pose it re-creates, but because of a telling detail. Tyler's mom wanted to make sure his boxers were showing - so the photo would look just like this classic Elway shot - so she asked him to pull up the waistband. But Tyler wasn't wearing Tommy Hilfiger. He was wearing Scooby-Doo. 

That is why I love this photograph. Tyler is a Scooby-Doo kind of a guy.   

A photo's power is in the detail. We hired a photojournalist to take photos of our wedding, and the details he captured tell the day's real story: my brother snoozing in the lobby after the ceremony. The kids, in bow ties and tails, playing in a beaver pond.

Photos such as these remind us how fast kids grow up. And it seems unfair not to share their joys, triumphs, and day-to-day cuteness with friends and family. 

But it's hard to find time, amid our enjoying that cuteness, to take pictures of it - and to write long letters and get duplicates of photos, but this is just one of the ways the Web has made our life easier. The Internet offers a variety of innovative ways to creatively organize and share your photos while helping you stay in close touch with your family. 

For ideas on capturing the details of your own family life, read this helpful online article: "Photographing Children," by Rick Epstein.

And visit Momscape for a round-up of Web photo albums and Internet resources to help you get started. Don't miss "How to Archive Your Memories on the Web."

Once you have some new ideas on recording your own family history, head over to a new Website, created by freelance writer Patricia Chadwick. History's Women is an online magazine highlighting the extraordinary achievements of women throughout history. Take a few moments to read the empowering stories of women who overcame obstacles to achieve their goals and dreams. Take a look at the site's sections on Amazing Moms, Women of Faith, and Social Reformers, among others.